- SAN FELIPE REMATCH SET FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY
- BALTAS HAS THREE FOR THE MONEY IN SANTA ANA
- MUCHOS BESOS: HAPPY HORSE WITH HAPPY ENDING
BOLT VS. McKINZIE ROUND TWO IN SANTA ANITA DERBY
Although Bob Baffert has been known to call more audibles than Bret Favre, the Hall of Fame trainer now appears firm in his decision to send McKinzie against Bolt d’Oro for a rematch of rematches in the $1 million, Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
McKinzie finished a head in front of Bolt d’Oro in last Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, but after a stirring duel through the lane in the mile and one-sixteenth race, was disqualified to second by the stewards for bumping incidents in the stretch, giving Bolt d’Oro the victory, worth $240,000 and 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
The 81st edition of the Santa Anita Derby will be decided at 1 1/8 miles and has been won by Baffert a record seven times, with Cavonnier (1996), Indian Charlie (1998), General Challenge (1999), Point Given (2001), Pioneerof the Nile (2009), Midnight Interlude (2011) and Dortmund (2015).
BALTAS COVERS ALL THE BASES IN SANTA ANA STAKES
Richard Baltas has three horses entered in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ana Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on turf, but it’s not a first for Santa Anita’s third-leading trainer this meet with 20 victories.
“I ran three in the same stakes once before, but I didn’t win it,” said Baltas, whose three females have diverse styles for the Santa Ana. “Maybe I can get lucky this time.”
Assessing their styles, Baltas said: “Midnight Crossing isn’t the lone speed, but has a lot of natural speed; Lucy De likes to be mid-pack; and Madam Dancealot comes from behind.”
The Santa Ana, race eight of nine with an 11:30 a.m. first post time: Madam Dancealot, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Fault, Geovanni Franco, 3-1; Laseen, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Majestic Angel, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Evo Campo, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; $4,000 supplemental nominee Lucy De, Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1; How Unusual, Joel Rosario, 6-1; Midnight Crossing, Brice Blanc, 9-2; and Sassy Little Lila, Flavien Prat, 7-2.
MUCHOS BESOS FEEL GOOD STORY OF THE MEET
In the crush of fixation on lucrative stakes races and pursuit of the Triple Crown, a subterranean feel good story emerged from the fourth race at Santa Anita Friday.
Muchos Besos, a nine-year-old gelded son of Macho Uno running for a $20,000 claiming tag, led five rivals on a merry albeit futile chase over a mile and one-sixteenth, holding off a horde of horses by a head through the stretch under 47-year-old Matt Garcia, who was winning his second race from 22 mounts this meet, both on Muchos Besos.
“He’s a very calm, very happy horse,” said Javier Jose Sierra, who trains the gray Kentucky-bred for owner Hugo Catalan. “The horse looks like a three-year-old when he gallops on the track, and he gallops every day. He loves it.”
Sierra, a native of El Paso, has been training for 45 years and came to California in 1978. Muchos Besos (many kisses in Spanish) has been under his shed row the past three years, and Friday’s victory was his eighth in 37 starts at Santa Anita.
Overall, Muchos Besos has a 10-8-11 record from 63 starts, with earnings of $265,911, including $15,000 yesterday, when he stepped up from winning at odds of 22-1 against $12,500 claimers on Jan. 13 to score at odds of nearly 13-1 at the $20,000 plateau.
FINISH LINES: Kent Desormeaux rides Southwest Stakes winner My Boy Jack for his brother, trainer Keith, in next Saturday’s Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds . . . Smiling Tigress, impressive 3 ¾-length winner of Thursday’s $56,000 allowance feature under Tyler Baze for trainer David Bernstein, could make her stakes debut in the $200,000 Evening Jewel at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track April 7. “She’s getting better,” Bernstein said of the three-year-old California-bred daughter of Smiling Tiger. “She had to figure out what racing was all about.” . . . Trainer Dan Hendricks is “looking at all options, with the Shoemaker in mind” for Thunder Road winner Om, who disappointed in the Kilroe Mile. The Grade I Shoemaker Mile on turf May 28 is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, March 16)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||135||29||16||11||21%||41%||$1,782,947|
|William E. Morey||31||10||2||9||32%||68%||$410,883|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||43||8||5||8||19%||49%||$301,939|